What is ClearPath Aligner ? How are they made?
These are detachable wafer thin clear aligners that are used instead of brackets and wires to correct malocclusion. These aligners are a modern alternative to braces that used to guide your teeth from their present to the desired position.
During Clear-path treatment, an orthodontist takes a mould of the patient's teeth, and it is used to create a digital tooth scan. This digital model would suggest different stages between the current and desired teeth positions.
These aligners are created for each stage and each aligner has to be worn for nearly 20 hours a day. These aligners will slowly move the teeth into the desired position. Clear path are more comfortable and can be removed for brushing, flossing and eating. Also the dentist can apply it faster and much easily. At the same time they are more noticeable than lingual braces and they are less effective than conventional braces
They are generally used to correct moderately crowded teeth and not recommended for children. They are also used in patients who might have had a relapse after a fixed orthodontic treatment
What are the steps to get clear path aligners?
- In the beginning of the treatment, the dentist will take X-ray images, photographs, a bite registration, and polyvinyl siloxane impressions of the person's teeth and gums. The dentist would then record a written evaluation that will include the diagnosis and treatment plan.
- The dental impressions are scanned to get a digital 3D representation of the teeth. The dentist will then digitally create the desired position of the teeth and then create the stages between the current and desired teeth positions. The dentist will then send this treatment plan to the patient for approval before the aligners are manufactured.
- This treatment might require 6 to 48 aligners depending on the case. Each aligner usually moves the teeth 0.25 to 0.33 millimeters. The aligners are modeled with the help of CAD-CAM (computer-aided-design and computer-aided-manufacturing) software. They are then manufactured using a rapid prototyping technique called stereolithography. The moulds for the aligners are made in layers using a photosensitive liquid resin. This resin will then be cured into a hard plastic by exposing it to a laser.
- These aligners are manufactured from elastic thermoplastic material that will apply pressure and move the teeth into the aligner's position. Patients that need a tooth rotated or pulled down will have a small, tooth-colored composite attachment.
- Each aligner has to be worn on an average of 20 hours daily for 2-4 weeks. The treatment process usually takes several months and it can vary depending on the complexity of the planned teeth movements. The patient is advised to continue wearing a retainer at night after treatment with clear path.
Advantages of ClearPath Aligners over Clear Braces
Both ClearPath and clear braces are lot similar and they are less visible than metal braces.
The differences between them are as follows:
- ClearPath is more transparent than clear braces.
- Clear Path can be removed while ceramic braces cannot be removed for brushing, flossing and eating.
- ClearPath need fewer adjustments than clear braces. As trays must be changed every two weeks for ClearPaths, more frequent trips to the dentist is needed. While ceramic braces has to be adjusted every four weeks.
- Clear braces can treat more complicated cases when compared to ClearPath.
- Clear braces are made of ceramic, which makes it a little brittle.
- Clear braces can irritate soft tissue while ClearPath do not.
Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore